In addition to St. Patrick’s Day, this year the popular festival Holi, known as the “Festival of Colors,” also falls on March 17. In Naperville, the time for the community to celebrate this end-of-winter holiday has been slated for April 5, perhaps to give the warm days of spring more time to arrive.
“Holi is a festival that is widely celebrated in India,” wrote Krishna Bansal, Chairman of Indian Community Outreach of Naperville, in an enlightening e-mail.
“It occurs in the month of March and marks the beginning of the spring season. It is a festival of colors which generally falls on a full moon day. It is also a festival of love and unity and celebrates the triumph of good over evil.”
Bansal continued by explaining that the festival has religious origins. Hindus’ believe that Holika, an evil woman tried to burn Prahlad, a true devotee of God. But Prahlad was saved by God and Holika was burnt to ashes. They rejoice over the victory of Prahlad and it represents the victory of good versus evil or virtue over vice.
Holi is celebrated with vibrant colors, known as “colors of joy, colors of love and colors that fill our life with happiness to the core of our hearts.” It adorns each life with its various hues. Holi goes beyond the custom of smearing colors on each other. It crosses the realm of traditional customs to reach new dimensions of the renewal and spirit. It’s a time to create new bonds, reach out to others and forget the past worries.
Individuals take extreme delight in spraying color water on each other with water guns or pouring buckets and buckets of it. Singing Holi numbers and dancing on the beat of drums is also a part of the tradition. Amidst all this activity people relish traditional food and delicacies. On the eve of Holi a fire is lit in the open air which is a reminder of the burning of Holika – the evil.
Holi is a time to rejuvenate. The significance of this festival has crossed many pages in history to arrive here, as a time to celebrate renewal. Every festival has its own traditions in the backdrop, but what really matters is the spirit of festivity.
“Every year I embrace the occasion with growing enthusiasm that bridges over my colorful childhood memories, to reach me today, as a festival to celebrate,” added Bansal. “Besides exchanging sweets, colors and well-wishes, there is something more to it that I adore; it is the spirit of unity, friendship and a will to forget the past and let the present take over our lives. This is what makes it my favorite festival.”
A special celebration of the Festival of Colors is planned from 11AM-4PM on Sat., April 5, at the Grand Pavilion along the Riverwalk. The public is welcome to attend.
Images and story submitted by Krishna Bansal, Chairman, Indian Community Outreach of Naperville (Mayor’s Office)